September 20, 2001

To Members of the Bowdoin Community,

I write in response to the horrible events of September 11th because I believe it is important for the College to remain in touch with its larger community during this national trauma. On campus — amid fundraisers, blood drives, all-campus meetings, and candlelight vigils — we have conducted vigorous discussions about the political, social, and religious origins and ramifications of these attacks. Like everyone, we struggle to make sense of what has happened and work hard to sustain each other through dark and uncertain days.

We have been heartened by messages of support from alumni and friends, and by the news — posted on our Web site — that so many are safe. But we have also been shaken by reports that the Bowdoin family did not escape loss in these atrocious events. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, with the injured and their families, and with those who may be cast in harm's way as our nation responds.

Ours is an educational community where tolerance, understanding, and thoughtful debate are demanded and embraced, and where we share and promote vigorously the common values embodied in freedom and democracy. Today — in a world torn asunder with intolerance, misunderstanding, and hate — our task has never been more vital.

The historic bronze and stone memorials on our campus are vivid reminders of the sacrifice and noble purpose of those who came before us here. But the existence of these proud monuments on a thriving campus also serves to reassure us of our resolve and solidarity in the face of grim circumstance — to remind us that each time our nation has encountered a crisis of these proportions it has emerged stronger and even more determined to preserve and build on our traditions and way of life. May this knowledge of our past provide courage and confidence in the weeks and months ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Barry Mills
President